In this series, I will share my experiences of getting my Private Pilot License from preparations to my checkride. I am a glider pilot with about 170 hours gliding experience, ready to take the next step and start flying with an engine! In this step-by-step guide, I will share every flying lesson, the lessons I learn, tips I receive and recommendations I have to get the most out of your flight training.
Before starting my first flying lesson, I'll need to have some basic gear like every (student) pilot.
The most important accessory you'll need as a student pilot is an aviation headset. While doing research for my Best Aviation Headsets guide here on Hangar.Flights, I found some great information to help decide which headset to buy when starting out.
When first starting out, most student pilots (including me) unfortunately don't have $1000 to spare on a Bose headset. Although comfortable and nice to have, that kind of money can pay for quite a few flying lessons, which is my priority right now.
So while creating this guide, I came across some new companies making great headsets. Like most people, I knew about the Bose headsets, the ones from David Clark, Sennheiser, Lightspeed,... But there are a lot of other great options on the market right now!
Since I'll be flying piston aircraft during my training, I want to make sure my ears are well protected with preferably an ANR (Active Noise Reduction) headset. To be able to fly or more than an hour without getting a headache, the headset should also be comfortable enough with not too much clamping force on my head. I own a cheap ASA HS1 headset, which works great, but I don't quite like the clamping force on my head and ears after using it for longer than 45 minutes.
For my flight training, I have personally chosen for the Faro G2 ANR headset. The G2 offers ANR, comfortable leather ear seals and even an aux MP3/iPhone audio input and all of that for less than $400. I wrote a review about the headset which will be completed after my first flights with it!
Some other gear you will need includes a kneeboard, a fuel tester, a checklist of the aircraft type you'll be flying, a logbook and of course the obvious things like descent sunglasses. I also bought a handheld aviation radio for safety on the ground, as a backup and to listen to and learn from ATC calls.
Below are some of the products I personally use and recommend:
Your price: $30.95
For the pilot who needs to carry more, this folding kneeboard provides maximum storage space, encourages cockpit organization, and serves as the pilot's desk during flight.Buy now on Amazon
Your price: $18.49
Protect your communication equipment and organize your flight gear. This headset bag is for those who like to fly with minimum baggage.Buy now on Amazon
Your price: $9.42
Fits all quick-drain valves and has an adapter for recessed drains. The transparent cylinder is 6" long with octane color-coding molded in the side. Also included is a screwdriver blade with both Phillips and slotted heads.Buy now on Amazon
Your price: $235.00
The IC-A14 is the ideal flight companion for the student pilot. This radio practically pays for itself by saving pilots both engine hours and fuel during preflight communications with the tower.Buy now on Amazon
Besides all the above, I will also be using my older GoPro Hero 3+ camera to record some of my flying lessons for educational purposes and share here on HF. In addition to my camera, I also want to record some of the conversations with my instructor during flight and the ATC calls and conversations to listen to again later and learn from. For this, I'll be using a special adapter where I can plug in my iPhone between my headset and the aircraft's intercom.
Your price: $54.47
The Digital Audio Recorder Adapter allows you to record everything heard over the aircraft intercom system to your digital recording device. It's great for creating your own aerial videos without excess cabin noise. It will record all of the audio transmitted through the intercom system, including in-cabin audio and ATC transmissions.Buy now on Amazon
To organize and protect all your gear, you will also need a good flight bag. I recently created a guide that lists the best flight bags for every type of pilot.
I have ordered the Flight Outfitters Flight Level bag myself and I'm waiting for it to arrive. It has all the features I need and it looks great as well!
Your price: $129.95
Keep all your air travel essentials at your fingertips with the Flight Outfitters The Flight Level Carry-On Travel Bag. Durable nylon and a braided steel handle mean this bag will withstand all the usual airport wear and tear with ease.Buy now on Amazon
The last accessories I will use is some flight simulator gear to train at home. I hope this will help me train more efficiently and lose less time in the air. For this, I'll be using Microsoft Flight Simulator X with the Saitek Pro Flight yoke and throttle quadrant, which will be perfect since I'll be flying the Piper Tomahawk with the same type of yoke and throttle controls. I will maintly use the flight sim to practice procedures and navigation.
List price: $169.99
Your price: $166.25
You save: $3.74 (2%)
Delivering realistic and precise control while enhancing muscle memory, the Yoke and Throttle Quadrant with five total axes simulate what it feels like to truly fly an aircraft.Buy now on Amazon
Your price: $33.00
Take to the Skies in the World's Favorite Flight Simulator! Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition delivers an authentically accurate aerial experience for simulation enthusiasts and those with a passion for all things flight.Buy now on Amazon
In the next post, I'll talk about my first flying lessons!
Talk to you then,
Which gear did/do you use during your flight training? Let us know in the comments!